'It was horrifying:' Parents cleanup used needles at Everett park

Parents pick up needles at Henry M. Jackson Park (Photo: KOMO News)

EVERETT, Wash. - The number of heroin needles outnumbered parents and children cleaning up the Henry M. Jackson Park in Everett Wednesday night.

The number of needles is a snapshot of the growing heroin crisis in Snohomish County.

The Snohomish County Health District released a real-time tracking report showing 37 overdoses in one week. Three people died.

Every Wednesday, the moms and dads aren't heading to Jackson park with their children to play; they go there armed with tongs.

Sadly, what they find, doesn’t surprise them anymore - too many heroin needles to count where children play, they said.

“Doing it for so long, you kind of get used to it, how sad is that?” mom Jasmine Jones said. “When I first started, it was horrifying, she’s 5 and she’s 8 and I have to tell my kids be careful where you’re walking, you don’t want to get poked by a needle.”

Before children were allowed to walk in the park and pick up garbage, adults swept it for needles and placed them in appropriate containers, Jones said.

The Snohomish County Health District said out of the 37 overdoses in one week, the youngest person who overdosed was 16 and the oldest was 52.

Officials said the counter-acting drug Narcan was used in 70 percent of the reports and it saved 24 lives.

Officials said the more parents and the community start education and prevention, the better they can tackle the crisis.

“I’m saddened, I’m a mom I have three kids that will be coming to that age pretty soon I think it speaks volumes to starting earlier,” Snohomish County Spokeswoman Heather Thomas said. “It was eye-opening.”

Parents know they can’t give up now, because they know what’s at stake.

“I do it for them,” Jones said pointing to her children. “I do it for those kids and my neighbor’s kids and my friends’ kids and any kid because they’re our future.”

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